Rita König, 64, from Pretoria, donated her left kidney to her son. Rita is a keen cyclist and has competed in the 947 Cycle Race as part of Team TELL, she shares her story.
1. Which organ did you donate, and in what year?
Left kidney, 16 January 2015, to my son Siegfried König.
2. How long was your recipient on the waiting list for an organ?
Siegfried was never on the waiting list, when my son was informed by his doctor that he needs to look for a donor, we immediately went for the necessary tests and I was a match.
3. What made you decide to donate?
There was never a question if I want to donate. It’s a huge honour to be healthy and strong enough and able to give my son a second chance.
4. Describe the emotions experienced when you were told that you are a suitable donor?
Mind-blowing and so grateful.
5. What is life like now, after donating an organ?
I lead a normal life. I don’t need any medication. There is literally no change in my life. I am able to still exercise (cycling and running) on a daily basis
6. What advice would you give people considering being a living donor?
It is such an honour to be a living donor and see the huge changes in the person’s (in my case my son’s) life and the way they are able to lead a normal life. So, don’t be scared.
7. Why do you think there is a shortage of donors in South Africa?
Fear, not enough knowledge. I know I was scared, but the benefits far outweigh the fears. It is really a life-changing experience, especially when you can experience the results of your gift of life.
8. Has the idea of an altruistic donor become an outdated expectation in a modern society?
I think it must be very difficult to donate to someone you don’t know or have any connection with. Either you donate to someone in your family or I expect most of the people on the waiting list has to wait for a dceased donor. My son had one of his friends prepared to donate a kidney if we were not a match.
9. What is the biggest stigma/myth you have heard about organ donation?
I am too old and not healthy enough
10. If you could describe donation in one word, what would it be?
11. If you could be any organ, what organ would you be and why?
Kidney, there are so many people out there waiting for a kidney.
Joslyn Staal from Silvertown Athlone, in Western Cape, South Africa shares her story of donating a kidney to her cousin.